The Great American Dream – that is what this motorcycle is. Epitome of luxury and grandiosity, the very best of what money can buy here. We are talking about the 2016 Indian Roadmaster, the latest offering from Indian Motorcycles in India, meant to take on the likes of the Electra Glides and Gold Wings of the world.
The first thing that anyone will notice about the Roadmaster is its size – it is a big motorcycle! No, it is a HUGE motorcycle with intentional use of capital letters to emphasise its size. Despite its bulk, it is one of the sexiest looking motorcycles that you will find on our roads. It is so beautifully overwhelming to your senses. The one we rode sported a dual tone livery of traditional Indian Red with Ivory Cream with a generous amount of chrome thrown in for good measure and equipped with two huge panniers and a huge tail box.
The fit and finish on the Roadmaster is perfect. Despite a huge fairing and add-ons like panniers and tail boxes, it was impossible to find any rattling or vibrations anywhere on the bike. A special mention here must be given to the supremely comfortable genuine tan leather rider and pillion seats. There is enough real estate even for the biggest of riders to make themselves comfortable and ride nonstop for hours on end without taking a butt break. The stitch quality is top notch as well.
Powering this is the same 1811cc V-Twin Thunder Stroke 111 engine that is used on the Chief and the Chieftain models. It has been tuned to provide a flatter torque curve though to help its touring nature. It makes around 139 Nm of max torque at around 3000 RPM. The official Bhp figures are not revealed by Indian Motorcycles, like most other cruisers out there. However, despite so much weight, the Roadmaster lunges ahead with the slightest blip of the throttle, which is surprising for a machine of this size. The power delivery is smooth and consistent throughout the rev range.
The Roadmaster is heavy! It weighs around 421 kg dry and a fully loaded Indian Roadmaster with a pillion could tip the scales at 630 kg plus. But all that weight seems to disappear as soon as the bike gets into motion thanks to the rigid cast aluminium chassis and a sorted suspension aided by tons of low end torque. Also the fuelling is precise even at the lowest of RPMs, which means that it can be ridden smoothly at snail’s pace without any jerks or abrupt power delivery.
This entire setup makes the handling of this huge machine effortless. It feels planted on straight line high speed runs as well as through the corners. And as we said, the suspension feels sorted to support the 400+ kg mass and the bike seemed to take on the potholes and minor bumps on the road rather effortlessly. The rear shock absorber has around 4.5 inches of travel and can be further adjusted as per the load on the bike.
Stopping a motorcycle this big can be as much of pain as putting it into motion; however, the efficient braking on the Roadmaster by the 300 mm dual disc up front and a single 300 mm at the rear aided by ABS doesn’t leave much to worry about and instils a lot of confidence in the rider.
In terms of goodies, you have an electronically adjustable windscreen, which you can adjust as per your height to control the air flow around you while riding. Then you have heated grips and pillion and rider seats for that extra bit of comfort while riding in extreme cold conditions. You also get ABS as standard fitment. Cruise control is there for effortless riding on open highways. Plus, you get keyless ignition and remote luggage locking facility. You also get 3 power sockets to charge all your gadgets on the go.
There is also a 200 W output audio system installed, which has AM/FM and can be connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth or AUX. The sound quality from the speakers was top notch and also the sound level was adequate at slow speeds. But when riding at speed, wind blasts its own tune as you would expect!
The cockpit is also fully loaded and the rider has tons of information at his/ her fingertips, including an analogue speedometer and tachometer. The digital screen has dual trip meters with distance and time, real-time clock, instantaneous and average fuel economy, fuel range, compass, ambient air temperature, gear position indicator, front and rear tyre pressure display, engine oil life percentage, engine hours of operation, average speed, and battery voltage display among other things.
One thing that stands out and what you might miss, is a GPS navigation system, which should’ve been there in a fully loaded touring motorcycle. Especially considering the Roadmasters direct competitors come equipped with it.
The storage space in the trunk as well as the saddle bag is generous with a total of 142 litres of space available. Which is more than capable of carrying a weekend’s supply of luggage.
So, as we said, the Indian Roadmaster is the Great American Dream – big, luxurious, and worth investing your heart, soul and money. However, like all things big in life, it comes at a great cost. At around 37 Lakh ex-showroom, it is one of the most expensive motorcycles you can buy in India – second perhaps only to Harley Davidson CVO Limited in its category, which carries a price tag of INR 49 Lakh ex-showroom Delhi. So for the 4 odd million rupees that you pay to be able to own the Roadmaster, you get an 1811cc engine pumping out about 138 Nm of torque at just 2600 RPM and spread evenly throughout the rev range. This engine is plonked into a bombshell of a motorcycle body that has an unmatched road presence. It is meant to do only one thing – touring or long highway runs – and has all the bells and whistles to make each one of these rides a memorable ride. It carries the elegance of a classic cruiser, but has all the latest gizmos and amenities that one might need except for one of the most important things – a GPS guided navigation. For the price tag it carries, we are quite sure that it wasn’t due to cost cutting.
In India, the Indian Roadmaster competes directly with the Honda Gold Wing and the Harley Davidson CVO Limited, which are retailing at approximately 30 Lakh and 50 Lakh respectively. The larger-than-life Harley needs a detailed discussion sometime later in the future. The Gold Wing though surely packs a punch as a contender. It is no less than a million rupees cheaper and has all the goodies that you’d want in a tourer. But for us the one thing that tilts the balance in favour of the Gold Wing is the reverse gear because it ‘ain’t no fun’ when you have to push a 400 kg mass of metal backwards! However, the Roadmaster does give a more premium feel with its overall, shining chrome, and the attention to detail. With the Indian, you are buying into the history and heritage of the American manufacturer, and things like that come with a premium.
Indian Roadmaster Review Technical Specifications and Comparo